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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
Enamel on wood
36 x 38 inches
Collection of
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation

As compared with the American art-historical movement of the 1960s, Light's particular brand of pop art is unexpectedly sober and serious. Light never pokes fun at the tacky side of American society. He has no artistic or cultural mandate to reconcile it with so-called high art. He never uses art to make an ironic point about material culture. He loves the form of a commercial bottle and a hubcap, and the face of a hero. Low art's dominant images are icons for those without access to the world of high art. The only connections Light has with the world of high art are its remnants that have made their ways to the flea markets, or those that have come to him diminished by the limitations of his TV screen. He fashions a religion from this high-to-low fusion. He redeems the bric-a-brac, honors it, and makes it respectable, even holy. And in so doing he devises a universal theology according to Joe Light, with large illustrations (often four feet by eight feet), that guide the viewer toward enlightenment and salvation.